The Top Free Software for Windows PCs – 2018 Edition
Everyone loves free software… especially if it allows you to get your work done efficiently without nagging you at every turn to buy the premium version. While there’s plenty of free software out there, not all of it is useful.
Some of it blocks you from using essential features unless you pay up, while other software relentlessly nags you to buy the full version. Additionally, some of it will only allow you to use it for a limited time before it locks you out unless you pay for it. None of the software you will find on this list does any of this. All of it is fully functional, nag-free, and has no time limits.
Avast’s free software anti-virus has gained a good reputation online for being tough on malware but gentle on your PC. It uses a minimal amount of system resources and doesn’t bug you to buy the full version. Best of all though, it’s one of the top rated anti-viruses for detecting and removing malware. The free version also comes with helpful components, such as a safe browsing browser plugin that prevents you from going to unsafe websites, a safe shopping browser plugin that can help you find the lowest prices for products at the most reputable online stores, and a Wi-Fi inspection tool that scans your network for potential security issues.
JetClean is an effective system cleaner that is generously offered as free software by its founding company. It comes with all the components you need to clean up and speed up your PC. There are no limitations on scheduled cleanings or specific components, and it does a thorough job at cleaning up and speeding up your PC. Best of all, it is by far one of the most lightweight system cleaners available online, leaving a tiny memory and CPU usage footprint.
ShareX is a handy little screenshot tool which is great to use if you take frequent screenshots that need to be edited and shared. This tiny little tool comes with all the components you need to take all kinds of screenshots, edit them, and share them. It can screenshot your entire screen, a specific window, a specific portion of a window, or a specific region.
After you take the screenshot, it copies it over to your clipboard, so you can easily paste it anywhere it needs to go. It can also automatically upload your screenshots to Imgur. Or, if you need to edit the screenshot, it comes with a handy editing tool that includes functions such as blur, pixelate, arrows, and a highlighter. Best of all, it uses a minimal amount of system resources, is completely free software, and doesn’t nag you to buy anything.
Do you hate paying for Microsoft Office? Then you will probably fall in love with LibreOffice, the open-sourced alternative to Microsoft Office which is 100% free software. LibreOffice is a lightweight office suite that includes many of the same features as Microsoft Office. It is fully capable of saving to Microsoft Office file formats as well as opening them.
Amazon Prime Music
If you have an Amazon Prime account, you can get access to thousands of songs free using their streaming app. It’s available for both PC and Android as free software and makes a great substitute to paying for Google Music or any other music streaming services. You also gain access to hundreds of radio stations and playlists. You can vote the music you like up or down, save it to your library or create your own playlists, and share it on social media.
If you don’t have an Amazon Prime account, the next best free software to use for streaming music gratis-free is Spotify. Spotify allows you to save as many songs as you want to your library on your PC, but does require a subscription to access that library on your cell phone. Spotify also has hundreds of radio stations and playlists you can listen to on any device. While you don’t get as much freedom to mix and match your music on the go with Spotify Free as you do with Amazon Prime Music, it still gives you a lot of flexibility and freedom in comparison to other music streaming service apps.
7-zip is a lightweight file compression utility that is open-source and completely free software. It can create almost any kind of compressed file, including password-protected zip and rar formats. Out of all the file compression apps available, 7-zip uses the least amount of resources while retaining the highest level of functionality. It’s got everything you need to create and open compressed files.
The Language Tool is available as a plugin for most browsers, and as an add-on for Google Docs. This handy little tool does an excellent job at proofreading text based on studying the way text is used online. It’s completely free software, and extremely lightweight.
Opera deserves an honorable mention in this list for being a browser that is not only lightweight, but also offers a free VPN service to its users. VPNs can be expensive, and fortunately Opera offers this extra security for free. A virtual private network is a service that encrypts your data, so hackers can’t make any sense of it if they snoop in on your connection. Further, a VPN masks your IP address so no one can target you by your IP. It’s an extremely valuable security service to use, and Opera is the only company that offers this service at tolerable speeds for free. While some companies may offer free VPN services, these are often restricted by time limits or are extremely slow.
GIMP is an image manipulation program much like Adobe Photoshop. It’s completely free software which is open-sourced and much lighter on system resource usage than Adobe Photoshop is. GIMP also doesn’t babysit its user like Adobe Photoshop has been doing in recent years. It’s a great tool to use if you are either a beginner wanting to teach yourself, or a seasoned professional that doesn’t want your software to hold your hand. GIMP has a ton of plug-ins and extra tools available as well, so you can create the image manipulation program of your dreams with it.
BitWarden is a lightweight open-source password manager that creates secure passwords and stores them securely online – all as free software. It is available as an add-on for all the major browsers, and there is also a website which you can access your “vault” from. BitWarden is probably one of the most secure password managers available. Unlike others, their free version has absolutely no restrictions on it. The paid version is intended for enterprise usage, so most users will be perfectly happy using the free version.
CoreFTP is one of the few FTP managers that offers a free software version without any restrictions on its usage or how long you can use it for. It’s also free of any nag screens. It’s one of the most lightweight FTP managers to be found anywhere. The free version offers everything you need to connect and save connections to your FTP servers, with nothing fancy or extra thrown in. It’s an excellent FTP file manager to use for general, every-day web admin purposes.